On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee confirmed that Russian hackers had infiltrated its computer network and accessed information, including opposition research on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to multiple news outlets. The Washington Post first reported the hacking incident.
"The security of our system is critical to our operation and to the confidence of the campaigns and state parties we work with," DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. The hackers stole two files of opposition research, Shawn Henry, president of CrowdStrike, a cyber security firm, told the Post.
Wasserman Schultz added that the DNC had already taken steps to respond to the hacking: "When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is and reached out to CrowdStrike immediately. Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network," she said. CrowdStrike also confirmed that the hacking had occurred and "that its origins pointed to the Russian government," reported USA Today.
According to The Washington Post, Russian hackers were able to read chats and emails between DNC staffers — and Committee officials and security experts confirmed this breach. But the Post also noted in its report that the DNC was not the only target: "The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some GOP political action committees, U.S. officials said."
DNC officials and security experts said all of the hackers had been booted out of the DNC's network over the past weekend in a "major computer cleanup campaign," but some hackers had access for over a year, The Washington Post reported; DNC leaders were alerted to the intrusion in late April. The publication noted that it reached out to the Russian Embassy for comment and its spokesman said he had "no knowledge" of the hacking incident; Clinton's campaign did not respond to the Post for immediate comment, and Trump's campaign directed the publication to the Secret Service for questions.
The Washington Post noted evidence supporting that the hackers came from the Russian government: "The DNC said that no financial, donor or personal information appears to have been accessed or taken, suggesting that the breach was traditional espionage, not the work of criminal hackers."